The whole discussion about higher unlockable difficulties is just something the very small niche of hack n' slash FANS like to discuss, it isn't even ackowledged by the majority of people. Frankly, most don't care if the game lives up to past games in DMD mode, they just want a fun engaging experience (and that means developed story and characterization, good level design, good soundtrack, etc) in their first playthrough.
How many of you people did manage to beat Dante Must Die in DMC1~4 anyway? I doubt there's many of you out there.
Just pointing it out that it's a very small percentage of people that really care how hard Master Ninja is in Ninja Gaiden II compared to Master Ninja in Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2, for instance.
Videogames should be considered a failure if it doesn't entice you to play through more than once. No specific games but in general, but games are meant to be re-played and if you can't find enjoyment b/c the you lost interest; well than, that game should be a failure to that particular players opinion.
Hard/DMD from DMC started me dumping hundreds of hours into one particular game, kept me interested in gaming and I still play through the DMC series regularly.
If you're only playing a game to witness a story well than I'd encourage you to watch more movies or read a book because the visuals are better in most movies and stories are better in books.
Two points: 1) Gamers play video games for different reasons. Your standards/expectations do not set the standard for gaming.
2) Some games really don't deserve a second playthrough. That's not to say that they're necessarily bad, but they don't demand endless replays due to any number of factors. For example, I enjoyed Assassin's Creed 3, but I probably wouldn't replay it, due to the sheer amount of time it took to uncover all the maps and collect all the trinkets/feathers/weapons/etc.. I enjoyed Dragon's Dogma, but it gets pretty repetitive and predictable pretty fast (I.E., always harpies here during daytime, always perched in the exact same place; fighting Ur Dragon isn't -that- fun; etc.)
As with the first point, this is entirely up to the player and isn't universally true over every gamer. --- Gamertag is Madigari, for both Xbox 360 and PSN. Of all the things I've lost, I miss my originality the most.